Did your kiddos ever just rest during your break but not nap? My 5 y/o never naps so I’m really not counting on her to actually fall asleep during our breaks. More just hoping she’ll rest her feet/body and get out of the heat. Even that will help her I think although I don’t know if she’d be able to hang until midnight. That’s impressive!
Hah, for sure! My DS27 did a summer internship in Houston (he now lives in Amarillo) and yes, there is a difference! He loves where he is now but melted down there on the coast. I was surprised how well he acclimated to Panhandle heat, but it is a different kind of heat compared to Houston.
Our DS4 never naps anymore either, but he did after getting up at 6:00 for EMM without much effort. On a few of the other days, we just went back to the pool to relax. On the nights we did DAH and HEA, I managed to get him to take a nap by walking around Crescent lake with him in the stroller. (He doesn’t usually use a stroller anymore either, but I definitely don’t regret having one in WDW). Those naps were crucial for the nights we were up til 10pm or later.
Of course, you know your group best; I will say that I was really impressed our DS4 was able to stay up that late too though. The energy and excitement of it all kept him awake with no problem. Again, that stroller was crucial when he began to crash on our walk back from HS after DAH!
Hmm. You have me rethinking a stroller for DD5. She turns 5 in June and we’ve always had a stroller for her in WDW (last trip was in February). Since it’s on the longer side (I think I said 8 days before. It’s actually 9), and we have the July heat it may not be a bad idea to have it.
I’m thinking I may hold my park hopping plans very loosely. Where I struggle with hopping is which park to pre-book FPs. Anyone have a particular strategy with this?
i am not a huge lover of rope dropping on emh days. During food and wine, we like to start our day in one park and then hop to EP to graze the booths and do WS. Or if i want to do HEA, i start in EP and then over to MK
I always pre-plan which park we’re going to every day prior to the 60 day FPP window. Then, I make FPP for the morning park for each day. The exception tends to be EP, where there are few rides you really need a FPP. Here’s my thoughts on the individual parks, considering you are doing EMM TSL and FL:
MK - Crucial for pre-booking headliners, if you want to do them. EMM will free you up from not having to book 7DMT or PP.
AK - Crucial to pre-book FOP or Navi, less so for everything else there. Most are easy to get day-of.
HS - Since you’re doing TSL EMM, probably only RnR and ToT are important to prebook FPP if you want to do them. ToT especially because it’s running on lower capacity due to refurb.
EP - Not very critical to prebook FPP. Due to tiering of FPP, you can almost always get a FPP for a tier 1 ride a few days ahead or even day-of, and RD another one of them.
After taking our DS who was 4.5 in March, I wouldn’t do it any other way. But that’s just me. I plan on getting a stroller in Aug when he will be turning 5 too. It’s just too much walking for him. Plus, it’s handy for storage. I’ve rented from Kingdom Strollers for the last two trips, and they give you the City mini GT, which folds and carries super easily for buses.
As said in an earlier post, everyone has a different planning style and family needs. Here are a few random observations:
I always have PHs because I either have an AP or am using MilSalute tix, which automatically come that way.
I have no kids so I can’t comment on how it would affect them; I most frequently tour as a solo adult, who typically goes from RD to closing with no breaks other than 2 TS meals.
I never go in the summer.
On a 4 day trip I almost never hop unless one park closes early and I hop to a park that stays open late. I would not pay extra for PH in this case.
On a 5 day trip, I would likely get the PH so I could visit more than one park on my “5th day”. If I had kids, the “5th day” would inevitably be a second full day at MK, so I probably would not get the hoppers.
6 or more days I would probably not pay extra for a hopper.
I think AKL transportation issues are completely overblown. I’ve stayed at half a dozen different resorts over the years (including AKL, my favorite) and if you average everything out, I really doubt that overall bus time for a trip will be significantly different no matter where you stay. And if a 5 minute longer bus ride is a huge issue for you (collectively, not specifically the OP), then you might be too high-strung for WDW
All that being said, it sounds like I am “against” hoppers - I’m not; it’s just that my touring style and length of stay make it not worth the extra money I would have to pay if they weren’t included for most circumstances. I have no idea what I will do for my December trip; I’ll have 5-day PH, but SWGE just makes the whole thing a major question mark…
Ok, this is super helpful and well reasoned. Thank you for helping me wrap my head around this and making it seem like it could be enjoyable instead of stressful. FP day is coming up later this month so I need to make a decision on what park we’re doing when.
It does sound like you are but I get what you’re saying. We’ve always done the same thing. In February we had a similar length trip and didn’t do hoppers and only wished we did for our free evenings…but we were at the Poly and more central to just hopping back over to MK to soak up the evening atmosphere than we will be this trip.
Ordinarily, I’d say hoppers may not be necessary, and there have been times we had it but never used it. But as I found from personal experience, when you add in lots of the extra hours stuff like you are doing, like EMM TSL, EMM FL, DAH, MNSSHP, etc. it becomes more important to be able to switch parks throughout the day.
A few thoughts… yes, go with the stroller. If it’s making you crazy, you can always park it somewhere and walk. It also serves as a nice drink holder.
Next, we always hop, mostly because I’m paranoid about the need to keep all my options open. That said, on our most recent 7 day trip, we used the hopper on 5 of the days so it was totally worth it. We usually went super early, stayed as long as we could last (normally lunch time or so), then went to our resort for lunch and a break (often at the pool). Sometimes we wouldn’t get back to a park until 6 or 7, but with late hours (like you’ll have in July) we still had plenty of time. (Aside: we always change shoes during our break. Keeps the feet fresher).
With 8 days, you might want to have one day where you don’t go to a park at all. Sleep in, hit the pool later in the morning, resort hop, go to Disney Springs for ice cream and shopping (or dinner), try mini golf if it’s not miserably hot, etc. You can ride the boat from Disney Springs in a giant circle for a change of pace.
One other tip that works for us in the heat of summer - we try to have a reservation for a meal most every day. Somehow just knowing that we’re going to sit down somewhere air conditioned for an hour or so helps the attitude and the planning. You don’t have to break the bank – share appetizers or dessert or something. It’s much better than waiting until you’re exhausted and overheated and trying to find a table at a full restaurant.
We’ve used a travel agent and she’s been wonderful, but when we mentioned some lazy mornings and returns-to-the-hotel for swimming and naps (two adults, 9-yr-old and 6-yr-old), she said we’d lose much time (we’re at WL). Since we’re first timers and we told her we’d not be back for awhile, I think she was giving us the best bang for the buck. Any opinion on this? Thanks…
How long is your trip and what time of the year are you going? I feel like that makes a big difference on how you tour.
We did our first trip January ‘18. Five day tickets (including arrival day and departure day). Our three middle days we toured for 10 hours, 12 hours and 14 hours. We were spent.
Our last trip in February we had nine days and only had one full day where we went basically all day (8 am until 6 pm) but the other days we either took a long afternoon break, toured 8-3ish or 11-8. We never have done a full resort day.
This next trip is in July so we’re doing more consistent early morning, after noon break and back to the parks for a couple hours in the evenings.
My kids are 8, 6, 4 and 2 and have handled all of these different ways of touring like champs.
I am not @terp05, but when we did EMM at HS in December we rode Slinky Dog 9 times, Alien Saucers 2 times, and Toy Story Mania 1 time. We also met Buzz, Woody and Jessie, and made 1 stop at the bathrooms all before the rope drop crowds were let in. EMM is fabulous!
Hi @twm22columbia_685218! Yeah, as @Wahoohokie explains too, you can pretty easily manage to ride that many rides if you try. This assumes you get to the park about 30 minutes before the scheduled start time for EMM, so you can be first in. It also assumes you don’t go to the breakfast during the actual EMM event hours; I’d wait to go the breakfast at about 9:45 (assuming breakfast ends at 10).
See my trip report where I did this with my 4 year old. I think you can easily do even more rides with older kids in tow.
I have found that after a few days when my son was young if he did not get a break, including a chance to nap or swim, Disney became “work” not fun. I know you want to do it all, we all do. The truth is, that is impossible. Sometimes you just have to slow down and enjoy what you are doing, with some rest and sleep thrown in. I am sure you will do what is right for you, this is just what worked for us.